Divorce and Your Social Security Benefits

Posted by Steven D. Eversole | May 27, 2014 | 0 Comments

The financial repercussions of divorce can impact your overall quality of life, investments, and long-term security. Though the fear of post-divorce finances can be overwhelming, an experienced advocate can help you protect your rights and security well into the future. In addition to dividing assets, protecting retirement funds, and establishing alimony, one of the issues that couples often face is how divorce will impact your Social Security benefits. Fox Business recently highlighted this issue to help divorcing couples have a clear understanding of how divorce can impact how Social Security is calculated.

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Our divorce lawyers in Birmingham understand the stresses faced by our clients. We will take the time to review your case, identify your concerns, and take a strategic approach to protect your rights and security. Whether you are in your 20s or facing retirement, it is important to have a clear understanding of how divorce will impact your legal and financial interests. Remember that your marital status will have an impact on your tax obligations as well as your Social Security benefits. Here are some Social Security implications to keep in mind:

The duration of your marriage matters. If you are married less than 10 years you are not eligible for a divorced spousal benefit. However, if you have been married over 10 years, you can claim either your own Social Security benefit or your ex's benefits, depending on whose benefits are higher.

You can claim your benefits and your ex's. If eligible, you can also claim your spouse's benefits at 66 and then collect your own at 70. This would be viable option if you want your own benefits to mature and claim the spousal benefit until then. Social Security calls this a restricted filing, assuming you are filing for the higher benefit.

Claiming benefits for two or more prior marriages. If you have been divorced twice and both marriages lasted more than 10 years, you may be eligible for both, but you can only collect on one. Conversely, both of your exes may claim on yours, unless they have been remarried.

Timing matters when you start claiming benefits. Your age at the time you begin to collect benefits can impact your future opportunities to collect benefits. If you begin collecting spousal benefits before you turn 66, you cannot restrict your filing, or wait until the higher benefit accrues. You do not have to wait for your spouse to claim benefits, so long as you are both at least 62.

Remarriage can cause you to lose your benefits. If you are divorced and considering remarriage, be aware that a new marriage means that you lose whatever benefits that you may have been to collect from a former spouse. Be wary if your new spouse doesn't report income because you could be unable to collect benefits at all.

When considering divorce or remarriage, your financial status should be reviewed by an experienced legal advocate and a financial adviser. The consequences of divorce can be lasting. An experienced advocate can help protect your rights and security in the process.

Contact Birmingham divorce and family law attorney Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.

About the Author

Steven D. Eversole

J.D., Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Alabama B.A., University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

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